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CHAN 10782
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CHAN 10782

Britten: Spring Symphony/Welcome Ode/Psalm 150

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2013

Originally recorded in 1990


London Symphony Orchestra

Orchestra of the City of London School for Girls

Richard Hickox

Alfreda Hodgson


Elizabeth Gale


Martyn Hill


Southend Boys Choir

London Symphony Chorus

Senior Choirs of the City of London School for Girls

Senior Choirs of the City of London School

Junior Choirs of the City of London School for Girls

Junior Choirs of the City of London School


St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Richard Lee


Peter Newble


Record Label
Chandos Classics


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 58:14
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Spring Symphony, Op. 44

  For Soprano, Alto and Tenor solos, Mixed Chorus, Boys' Choir and Orchestra  
  Part I  
1 Introduction. Lento, senza rigore 10:03
2 The Merry Cuckoo. Vivace 1:57
3 Spring, the Sweet Spring. Allegro con slancio 1:47
4 The Driving Boy. Allegro molto 1:58
5 The Morning Star. Molto moderato ma giocoso 3:07
  Part II  
6 Welcome Maids of Honour. Allegro rubato 2:38
7 Waters Above. Molto moderato e tranquillo 2:23
8 Out on the Lawn I Lie in Bed. Adagio molto tranquillo 6:37
  Part III  
9 When will my May come. Allegro impetuoso 2:25
10 Fair and Fair. Allegretto grazioso 2:13
11 Sound the Flute. Allegretto molto mosso 1:24
  Part IV  
12 Finale. Moderato alla valse - Allegro pesante 7:56
 Elizabeth Gale soprano
 Alfreda Hodgson contralto
 Martyn Hill tenor

Welcome Ode, Op. 95

13 1 March. Broad and rhythmic (Maestoso) 1:52
14 2 Jig. Quick 1:20
15 3 Roundel. Slower 2:38
16 4 Modulation 0:39
17 5 Canon. Moving on 1:46

Psalm 150, Op. 67

  Kurt-Hans Goedicke, LSO timpani  
  Lively March - Lightly - Very lively  

This re-release of the Spring Symphony, complemented by two smaller but equally life-confirming works by Britten, marks the composer’s centenary year. It also forms part of our ongoing Richard Hickox Legacy series, which pays tribute to this great conductor who passed away five years ago. Hickox here conducts the London Symphony Orchestra with the soloists Elizabeth Gale, Alfreda Hodgson, and Martyn Hill, and a number of UK choirs.
The Spring Symphony is one of Britten’s happiest and most celebrated works. Part symphony, part oratorio, and part song-cycle, this masterpiece requires large orchestral forces, a children’s choir, three soloists, and a large SATB chorus. Originally Britten had considered setting mediaeval Latin poetry, but the ‘re-reading of much English lyric verse and a particularly lovely Spring day in East Suffolk, the Suffolk of Constable and Gainsborough’, made him change his mind. Instead he found his inspiration in English poets such as Edmund Spenser, John Clare, John Milton, W.H. Auden, and Robert Herrick. In the words of the composer himself, this work not only deals with Spring itself but also ‘with the progress from Winter to Spring and the reawakening of the earth and life which that means’. In view of the year in which this work was completed and first performed (1949), the dominant theme might also symbolise the emergence of Europe from the darkness of war.
The setting of Psalm 150 was composed in 1962 – 63 for the centenary celebrations of Britten’s own prep school, Old Buckenham Hall School. It is a truly engaging and flexible work, which is evident from the score itself. Britten wrote it so that as many children as possible could be involved in the performance by playing a variety of instruments. So rather than naming specific instruments, Britten chose the looser characterisation ‘treble instrument’, i.e. anything from a recorder to a violin or flute, and ‘bass instrument’, which could mean a cello or a bassoon.
The spirited and infectious Welcome Ode for young people’s chorus and orchestra was Britten’s last completed work, written for the visit by the Queen to the Corn Exchange in Ipswich in July 1977 as part of her Silver Jubilee festivities.

 "... All in all, a surprisingly good disc ..."

Lynn René Bayley - Fanfare - January/February 2014

“This excellent recording was originally issued by Chandos in 1991… The terrific London Symphony Chorus is a real show-stopper. They sing with absolute clarity of texture and with amazing vocal effects. The tenor part was written for the idiosyncratic tone and agility of Peter Pears. Martyn Hill more than lives up to the challenge; he is absolutely perfect… Hodgson’s mezzo is rich ripe and mellow… Hickox moves the music along with a light-hearted drive, stressing the happy bucolic qualities…”

Charles Parsons – American Record Guide – January/February 2014

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